Paul George: Key to re-establishing playoff dominance in Game 5

LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) controls the ball against Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3). Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) controls the ball against Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3). Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

Paul George ended up unfortunately being one of the main subjects of criticism after the LA Clippers‘ loss in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

George struggled to be efficient in the contest, making just 5 of 20 shots for 23 points, and hitting only one three-point shot out of nine. That being said, nobody else could make shots either, on either team. The Suns shot 36% from the field, and 20% from three-point land. The Clippers shot 32.5% from the field and 16.1% from three.

People still found ways to attack George, especially when he missed another clutch free throw at the end of the game. PG didn’t disappoint in every aspect of the game, and he absolutely can return to playoff dominance in Game 5.

Finding efficiency is going to be key for Paul George to win Game 5.

Paul George wasn’t able to step up when the LA Clippers around him were struggling. It’s something that’s been seen before.

But the Suns were clamping down on everyone. Again, it wasn’t just George who struggled.

It’ll be a new game in Game 5, when the Clippers head to Phoenix down three games to one.

George needs to keep doing what he’s doing in the other areas of the game. He collected 16 rebounds in Game 4, and the Clippers as a whole played outstanding defense. The Suns couldn’t get anything to drop either, and the Clippers’ second-half defense was especially strong, allowing just 34 second-half points.

George, who played 42 minutes, had his contributions on D as well. He also served up six field goals for the Clippers, in a game that his teammates seemed to not be able to make anything.

His six assists led the team, so he led the team in both rebounds and assists. All those rebounds were on defense too. Sometimes it felt like he was the only Clipper grabbing defensive rebounds.

The rest of the Clippers’ roster barely out-rebounded George on defense, collecting 20 defensive rebounds total compared to George’s 16.

It goes to show that George will be fine. He has his head on straight, but just had a tough time being efficient in a game where almost everyone else did as well.

He’s been asked of a ton in these playoffs, and has registered 694 playoff minutes this postseason. Devin Booker comes in second with 562, not even close to PG.

Him not being as efficient as desired while still being the best rebounder on the team, doing his job on defense, and finding good looks for his teammates shows that he’s still finding ways to contribute.

Entering the contest, Paul George led this postseason in playoff minutes played, and playoff points scored. He was second in rebounds, free throws hit, and three-point shots hit. He was third in field goal conversions, and fifth in assists.

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As long as he gets his shot right in Game 5, he’ll be just fine. He’s doing everything else right.